What is a deviation?
Deviation is one of the two ways that a court can modify a trust (the other way being via cy pres). Such a modification of a trust occurs when there has been a change in some situation and the court determines that the settlor (the person who originally established the trust) would have been ok with the proposed modification. This arises most often when the original reason for the trust has been accomplished, where the purpose of the trust has since become illegal, where the goal of the trust can no longer be achieved, or because of some other unanticipated situation which means that continued compliance with the trust would go against the settlor’s original purpose.
When the court is prepared to modify the trust, it can do many things with its deviation powers. For example, it can modify the terms of the trust, grant new powers to the trustee or even limit the trustee’s previous powers. The court can also choose to terminate the trust if no other reasonable deviation makes sense.